Sports, Women's Basketball, WVU Sports

Iowa, Clark eliminate WVU from NCAA tournament with a 64-54 victory

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia needed one last spurt to make history.

Instead, it was Caitlin Clark who went down in the record books, as No. 1-seeded Iowa finished on a 12-2 run to secure a 64-54 victory Monday night over the 8th-seeded Mountaineers in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

In her final home game inside a sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Clark scored 32 points and added eight rebounds.

Along the way, she became Division I basketball’s all-time leading scorer for a season, tallying her 1,113th point.


In that final run, Clark was a perfect 6 of 6 from the foul line and Sydney Affolter scored on a crucial and-one 3-point play with 2:03 remaining that helped seal the deal for the Hawkeyes (31-4).

“I think we used our crowd,” Clark said of the final stretch. “We gave up a 10-0 run to start the quarter, but this team was never flustered. It speaks to our experience. … Wanted to go out on a high note.”

Iowa advances to play Colorado in the Sweet 16 on Saturday, but it did not come easily.

West Virginia (25-8) made sure of that.

While battling foul trouble throughout the game — the Mountaineers were whistled for 27 fouls to just 11 for Iowa — WVU did not back down from the challenge and did not make this a coronation ceremony for Clark.

Constantly battling back every time Iowa seemingly seized control of the game’s momentum, WVU tied the game 52-52 after J.J. Quinerly blew past Gabbie Marshall for a layup with 2:56 remaining.

The toll came due, though, on all of those whistles blown by the referees.

WVU could no longer shuffle its defenders or hide anyone.

First, it was Quinerly, who finished with 15 points, who fouled out. Jordan Harrison followed suit seconds later.

That’s WVU’s starting back court. The front court took a hit, too. Kylee Blacksten, Kyah Watson, Tirzah Moore and Jayala Hemingway all finished with four fouls.

Iowa went 25 of 30 from the foul line — 14 of 17 in the final quarter — while the Mountaineers got just five free throw-attempts for the entire game.

While the Hawkeyes survived, WVU certainly made the rest of the nation take notice. The Mountaineers return four starters next season, including Quinerly and Harrison, and will likely be safely in the preseason top 25 preseason polls.

No one on WVU’s roster had next season on their minds, though, as the final seconds were ticking away.

Instead, there were thoughts of the defensive battle that had ensued for 40 minutes.

Clark, the nation’s leading scorer and the all-time leading career scorer in all of college basketball, had her moments.

She nailed three deep 3-pointers in the first half, all of them coming from beyond 24 feet. The combination of Quinerly, Watson and Hemingway kept answering right back.

By the time the first half was over — Iowa led 26-24 at the break — no one was backing down.

WVU held the high-scoring Hawkeyes to just six points in the second quarter and 26 for the half, both the lowest of the season for Iowa.

Meanwhile, WVU was held to just 31% (9 of 29) shooting.

“Of course, I wish we could have made a few more shots, made a few more plays,” West Virginia head coach Mark Kellogg said. “The game went about to script for us, as far as holding them down and giving us a chance late.”

Clark opened up the second half with a drive to the basket. The Mountaineers answered when Blacksten scored a layup off a nice pass from Harrison.

And then it became a game of runs.

Clark had 13 points in the third quarter, while the Mountaineers scored 14, but WVU did come up with a 12-2 run in the quarter to get as close as 40-38, but then Clark answered that with an and-one 3-point play and Kate Martin closed the quarter with two free throws that gave the Hawkeyes a 48-38 lead.

Then it was WVU’s turn. While Clark didn’t score in the fourth quarter until the 3:10 mark, Hemingway knocked in a 3-pointer, Watson drained another one on an inbounds play and Moore hit a layup on another inbounds play.

When Quinerly blew past Marshall for that layup, it was anyone’s game.

It ended up being the final run of the season for the Mountaineers.

Watson finished with 13 points and seven rebounds for WVU, while Hemingway scored 10 points.

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